Ski Utah Press Release

Public Relations Director

Snowbird Founder Ted Johnson Passes Away at 91

Powder Skiing Pioneer Realized Dream of Opening Snowbird in 1971

Snowbird, Utah – Snowbird Founder Ted Johnson passed away Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, at the age of 91. Johnson was critically injured when hit by a drunk driver while crossing a street in California.  

Johnson first came to Utah chasing the legendary Little Cottonwood Canyon powder and ended up working at Alta in the 1960’s. He quickly realized the potential for a second resort in the canyon and began buying up mining claims and looking for investors. A chance meeting with a Texan named Dick Bass began a partnership that resulted in Snowbird’s opening in December 1971.

“Almost everything at Snowbird – from the Tram to the village to the spirit of Snowbird’s first employees – started with Ted,” said Snowbird President and CEO Bob Bonar, who worked for Ted before the resort opened. “It was Ted’s vision, intellect, endearing personality and persistence that brought Snowbird to life.”

Bass bought out Johnson’s interest in Snowbird in 1974.

Affectionately known as the Silver Fox, one of Snowbird’s iconic runs from Hidden Peak to the base is named in Johnson’s honor. Ted is survived by his wife Shirley, his children, Peter and Kylie, and three grandchildren as well as his partner and spouse at the time of Snowbird’s opening, Wilma.

A celebration of Johnson’s life is being planned for this spring.